Monday, 31 October 2011

Sydney FC: Exciting times in the final third - finally.

Any midfield that has Terry Antonis, Nicky Carle, Brett Emerton and Karol Kisel in it's line-up is going to entertain.

Terry Antonis is all energy and all skill. And can only get better. His performances this season have been outstanding and Sydney FC obviously realise this kids abilities.

After Captain and holding midfielder Terry McFlynn went off, it was young Antonis asked to come back and hold the fort.

At 18 that's some responsibility - some capability to switch from exciting, dynamic number 10 to defensive mid. Thing is he missed not a trick.

And with the mobile Emerton, tricky Nicky, crafty Karol I'm loving the rebirth of Sydney FC.

Away from home - they will rarely get beat. Improved defence and now pace and creativity on the break.

Can they produce the performances required at home? I think they can.


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Nearpost Football Podcast October 25th: A-Leage Rivalry Round and the W-League is underway (Canberra top of the table too!)

Aaron Walker, Nick Cumpston and Nick Amies talk Aussie football

We've got Aussie football covered. All the news. Socceroos and A-League and all the footy news and talk. How many football poddies only cover Aussie football?

We are clearly Australia's number one football poddie, apart from all the others, We discuss all the news from Australian football. What more could you wish for from the Australian media?

or play right from your computer....


Monday, 24 October 2011

Do true fans leave early? (Old Trafford empties at 3-1!)

You've won a million titles over the last twenty years - purchase bigger and better players when you're previous stars retire, move on or want out.

You turn-up with 76,000 every week to watch your side beat Stoke, Wigan or Fulham to name a few and you walk out feeling so good you are part of something special.

So when your team loses to it's nearest rivals by a thumping 6-1 - although when you let it was just 3-1, are you a real fan.

Manchester United fans had a tough day and left early?

Few Victory fans left early on Saturday, and who could have blamed them if they had.

True fans: Victory or United?


Sunday, 23 October 2011

40,000 again in the A-League: Mehmet looking like a risky appointment.

The thing is the Victory don't look like a team that has any shape, or structure.

Players are being swapped and swapped again during the game and Aussie fans watching Ante Covic and co boot the bejaysus out of the ball, especially after watching Ange P's Brisbane Roar the night before - well it's painful to watch.

Compare player for player - Victory to Roar and Victory would win in most fans eyes.
But in times of woe - the Roar have a plan, the players play to it.

In Melbourne what the hell has Mehmet and Muscat being doing. The longest pre-season in history has produced nothing really.

Harry plays on the left, Rojas on the right. Carlos in number 10 and dumb and dumber in behind I guess. Is there no other midfield contenders? Archie and or Solarzarno at 9.

Victory need a midfielder, a technical player and quick. They also need a hell of a lot of coaching. Right now the players must be losing a heap of confidence in the unproven and rooky coach Mehmet Durakovic.

Persevering with Grant Brebner and Leigh Broxham in the midfield is desperate stuff. Long-balls, not very accurate, crunching tackles and a short game that relies on too many touches.

They were useless for Victory in recent Asia campaigns they are a dire combination right now.

Mehmet isn't giving us much football strategy talk off the field - and his players are reflecting this on it.

He needs time - but what a risky appointment.


All hail Terry Antonis - Aussie football's brightest 17 year old?

Every Sydney resident who loves football should get down to the SFS to watch Terry Antonis this year.

He's 17 and when he has the ball at his feet he's wonderful to watch.

Won't be long before he's heading overseas at this rate, but if you love football, Australians, players with skill, a great attitude and wonderful craft - do yourself a favour.

Go and watch Terry Antonis.


Sydney FC worth watching in 2011 - hooray for that!

Sydney are stronger this season - both in defence crucial to their Championship winning year under Vitaslev and in attack.

Last year they lacked the mobility, pace and craft to hurt any team and always conceded- eventually.

This year, anyone who saw their Brisbane performance will know that they were able to dominate the Roar and should have been in the lead by half-time. The Roar's patient game plus a shocker from Liam Reddy destroyed Sydney's chances.

And it's away games where Sydney with a strong defence, can do damage.

Brett Emerton, Terry Antonis, Karol Kisel and Demi Petratos mean Sydney have a completely different, more pace, more craft and more attacking options thann last year.

And so it showed last night.

They met a confident Reds, fresh from a home win over Victory - albeit influenced by Adrian Leijer's sending off - and they done them with style.

Bruno Cazarine was influential throughout - Brett Emerton and co showed their increased mobility and Terry Antonis at just 17 is a star. He is lighting up the league.

Sydney are on the march - if they can sort out their home performances they'll be worth watching this year - finally.


Friday, 21 October 2011

Home bankers in the A-League finally - sign the league is stronger?

In the first couple of years it was hard to get a home win - hard to give the home fans the win they deserved.

After two weeks of the season we've had just one away win.

Sign the attacking home sides are becoming much better at attacking, keeping the ball.

In the early days teams attacked at home as you're meant to but away teams had more than enough skill to sit and wait for the puff and technique to run out then simply hit them on the break.

Another sign the league is progressing methinks.


A-League much harder to predict than AFL: Brisbane, Sydney, Victory, Mariners and Perth to win this weekend

You know the competition is crap when you can pick most if not all of the winners every week.

The expanded AFL enables most fans to easily pick 6, 7 or sometimes 8 from 8. Don't believe me - ask any AFL fan. Their problem. The EPL not so easy, but most fans know United, City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs will be winners.

But the A-League is tough - and once the Roar lose, which they will, it will be tougher still.

Can Sydney sneak it at Hindmarsh - maybe they can - they need a striker, just one. But given they are a little stronger defensively, Liam not Reddy aside, with Emerton, Kisel, Antonis, and Petratos they have much, much more forward mobility then previous. Not enough, but maybe enough for away day success.

You heard it here first!


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Holman out Cahill in?

Looks like Brett Holman might miss the next World Cup Qualifiers due to injury - so a chance for Timmy Cahill to come back in?

International football - players come and go pretty quickly.

Just five years ago, Cahill was a bench warmer for Hiddinks team in 2006 - he came on with explosive impact and now just five years later his international career is less secure.

Of course he'll continue to play but I don't think he will ever be guaranteed to play from here on in.

Interesting to see how the superstar copes with this. Will he continue to travel for games when he's not certain of starting?

He missed the recent games after being dropped by Holger for the Saudi game - of course he was injured, or was he sending his own message to Holger?

Time will tell - but with the distances involved, his desire to maintain his performance in the EPL, I won't be surprised if Timmy has a few feathers ruffled or rustles a few in coming months.

Getting to the top takes time - staying their even harder - especially for a 31 year old explosive forward, attacking midfielder. Could he play anywhere else?

And no chance Brazil Tim!


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Nearpost Football Podcast October 18th: Still can't believe the A-League's back!!

Paddy Bordier, Nick Cumpston and Nick Amies talk Aussie football

We've got Aussie football covered. All the news. Socceroos and A-League and all the footy news and talk. How many football poddies only cover Aussie football?

We are clearly Australia's number one football poddie, apart from all the others, We discuss all the news from Australian football. What more could you wish for from the Australian media?

or play right from your computer....


Football's loss: Thanks Ray Gatt and goodbye...for now!

Sorry Ray, but as Rupert Murdoch has announced we are to pay for content to view The Australian online I guess I won't be reading your football articles anymore!

But with Rupert on the nose perhaps he'll see the light in coming days and Ray will return to our screens in coming months - watch this space.

Can think of a view other journo's who's paper I'd like to stop reading...can't help myself - if only they could bring in online payment for those guys!

Anyway don't worry the Nearpost remains free to view - how cool is that!


Free help for our new Victory Coach - and Vitaslev for that matter too.

Archie Thompson has been one of the A-League most effective forwards and goalscorers in the A-League.

He's tricky, crafty, plays with a smile and when fit causes havoc.

So why not play Archie nearer to the goal, rather than out on the wing, and you might find that the Victory goal drought is over.

Harry is 33. And like it or not Harry is not your lone, pacy target man anymore.

So play Harry in behind a forward or two or play him on the left.

It's quite simple player selection. Archie's been trialled in the forward role for about 15 years - so give him a go. It works, it's proven.

And while we're at it.

Over at Sydney FC. I know you had Karol Kisel signed up, who seemingly can play only on the right. Well guess what Brett Emerton can also, only play on the right.

Now that smacks of poor spending, poor or desperate planning, but either way check Emmo's CV.

He's not a creative centre-mid, he's never played on the left in his right, he's not so technically gifted like Dwight Yorke that he can play anywhere.

He's a certain type of powerful, running, mayhem creating EPL player. Not dissimilar to Craig Johnston of yesteryear. Emmo ain't going to do anything more than:

Run up and down the line
Make it seem you have an extra defender and attacker.
Cross, well on occasion, poorly when his technique lets him down.
Score the odd goal.

All from the right.

So Vitaslev play this excellent athlete on the right and let's get the most from a limited, albeit a fantastic prototype, of this sort of international player. He's not Harry, Dwight or even Nicky - ask the fans we've watched him for years.


A-League crowds up - FFA marketing ploy pays off

FFA came under a lot of fire over the last couple of years as they put all their attention and resources into the World Cup Bid, at the expense of a still fragile national league sitting in an over-subscribed professional sporting arena.

Now it seems things are improving.

We had the season changes, and like the AFL and NRL, some key planning has gone into making noise at the right times.

You can't just rely on the game to be the thing. Provide it and they will come etc.

So starting the first three rounds with some big games, big clashes has resulted in a heap of big(ger) crowds and more noise than the A-League often gets.

Only a fool knows that 16,000 at a defeated Sydney stadium or 4,000 at the Gold Coast, etc etc means the crowds are back - no what the 40,000 in Melbourne or sell-out in Adelaide means, once again, there is clearly a market for football - and we may still have to go through the hard weeks with low crowds - but we can see once again, if we make a noise, plan correctly and bring in the odd player of note, the game in Australia will flourish.

It will never be easy - but it could get easier, much easier in years to come. Hey the Grassroots may actually want to come in ten year - they may even know about the games thru FTA but that's another story.

Over 10,000 members at Newcastle Jets - maybe other teams could look at the Tinkler membership model.

I tried a similar model with the A-League4Canberra bid - impressive as the $200 x 2000 people currrently held is - I reckon the whole family for $10 or so could have produced a massive amount of support.

Imagine a bid that had 15,000 paid-up initial members before a bid was approved. I lost that one btw!!!

Great to see the FFA getting something right - we're on the up it feelsA-League crowds continue to trend upwards with a record total of 135,438 passing through the gates in the first two rounds of the season.

Boosted by a ground record 15,789 to watch Harry Kewell's Melbourne Victory go down 1-0 to Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium last Friday night, 55,588 fans watched the five A-League round-two matches.

A-League officials expect numbers to climb with a crowd close to 40,000 expected for the derby between Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.


Saturday, 15 October 2011

Dario Vidosic - welcome home, Fabio to go home?

Dem Reds were missing Marcos Flores - how could he be replaced?

Well Dario Vidosic may not be Flores, but the returning Socceroo has comeback so much more influential than the young boy who left after season 1.

He has tricks, an aggressive eye to go forward and makes mayhem.

A welcome addition to the league.

Meanwhile Mehmet has a few problems down the other end.

While Sergio Van Djik was scoring the winner, our Archie,a similar prolific scorer has been shunted a long way from goal, to include first Allsopp and now Harry as the main man.

Two games - no goals. Not working Mehmet.

And in Fabio have you really improved on Matty Kemp, or even Evan Berger or any other Aussie? How long do we have to wait for the latest Brazilian to go home?


Capital Football - mission is to spread the Futsal as well.

Capital Football have a clear mission to spread the game, the joy of the game.

So when the recent Futsal teams were announced for the National Championships to be played in Canberra there were some interesting mutterings from around the local futsal scene.

Previously Capital Football has run the Cobras and Colts, two teams in all divisions. Makes sense as the games are run in Canberra, it gives more boys and girls a chance, maybe their only chance to play Rep football.

Of course the Colts is the second team, always weaker I suspect, sometimes much. But I never heard a complaint from a player or parent about this opportunity, some say gift, to get a chance to compete in Rep land.

Have you seen how proud the Colts players are in their Rep gear in Futsal National Championships week?

So when this years squads have been announced - all sorts of holes and inconsistencies have appeared in Boys U16, just one team, in girls 11 and 12 just one team. There are probably others.

And in many age groups we have two teams - so how does that work?

Budgetary contraints and a lack of quality in team selections have been a couple of rumoured reasons.

Hard to believe that even when Coaches have offered to Coach for free as they have I'm told in the U16 age group, and with players paying to compete as they do, that budgetary constraints are a real issue.

Also a lack of quality has been rumoured to be a reason. This is valid - but no-one who loves the game, players or parents will really see this as a valid reason.

If Capital Football are serious about their mission to spread the love of football, amongst our young people some serious thought needs to be given to next years selection process.

A thought:

If there is one team in the any age group - say 9 players - how without an aspiring group of Colts, if one or two players drop out of Cobras in the next season, do we get players of a futsal standard to start anywhere near the previous squad.

Or indeed how is it possible to break into next seasons team against a squad who have been trained and played Nationals, when all you had the chance to do is play North or South Canberra Futsal?

Seems to me there is something much much more important than ensuring our Colts teams are "quality" and it's the joy of giving a player a chance, perhaps their only chance to play Rep football and get that experience.

What is the point of having the National Champs in Canberra, making it cheaper and more accessible than if it were elsewhere for our kids.

Tell a kid in U16s boys you can't play because although we have volunteer Futsal Coach and you all pay, Capital Football say either our budget has run out, or your Colts side is crap.

Seems to me the reason we should be running football at the young age is for the kids - once we put quality over participation we've lost the real reason kids play football.

Note: My beautiful daughter missed out on Futsal U12s - because there is no second team. She couldn't careless, she's off to Music Camp...but when I heard similar issues occured in other age groups seems to me the thoughts of those trialling at Futsal and from the feedback I've had - the issue of boys and girls participation should be raised.

How do you build a better core group of elite Futsal players? By just having one team per age group? Doesn't gel with my community football values.


Friday, 14 October 2011

Canberra FC miss out on NSW Football - Only the applicants are shocked.

No surprise given their "issues."

But wonder what their response will be.

1.Learn, dynamically rebrand/engage and go again - (requires a massive change of strategy)

2. Head in the sand; and increase Croatian colours and imagery around the ground and celebrate the annual winning of the ACT Premier League thru simply paying more dough.

Sad thing is I reckon I know the answer.

So if this is the case the only option for future entry to NSW league for a Canberra team will be:

1. Belconnen United - most likely.
2. A Woden Valley team - probably way too far away although a merger with CFC at the NSW level, might assist all.
3. or my favourite: Canberra United (could be a merger of Belco, Canberra FC and Woden in some form) would require some nifty footwork to get the brand away from Capital Football but thinking ahead would be great for the game.

But we're not so good at that in Canberra are we, at least not yet - or we wouldn't be without a pathway for boys in 2011 would we - despite having had a number of National football league and NSW teams in the past decades.


Thursday, 13 October 2011

Top ten Aussie sports events? Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory this Friday?

Every football fan or player in the country should watch this match.

A sold-out crowd at Hindmarsh is simply one of the finest sights in Australian sport. Is it in our top ten regular season games for any code?

And every young player in the country would surely want to imagine him or herself on such a stage. Pity they can't get to see it...unless they have Foxsports.

With the Victory away support adding spice to a game which needs little added, the atmosphere will be electric, it always is.

The football will be fast and furious and the team with the greatest skill will overcome.

And Harry is playing, I'm also keen to see Dario Vidosic and Marco Rojas....he's a Kiwi - that hurts!

It will be a fantastic night for football - just a normal A-League round. If you love your sport don't miss it


Young players: How much did you grow and how does your club/association assist?

Food for thought:

In football we can simply learn from the best, but how do we and are we able to do it quickly enough in each town/city across Australia?

The way they are developed is fascinating, as Bergkamp explains. 'We don't just classify our players by age, we divide them into three 'wheels' depending on how much they have grown. There is one for players who haven't started growing, one for those who are growing and one for the players who have finished developing.

Read more:


The Lustica syndrome alive and well in Australia?

The A-League is back - the Young Socceroos have played their World Cup - so how many of our young guns are flying around the league on the opening day of the season? Or come to that the next group of Young Socceroos?

Steven Lustica - hard to believe a Young Socceroo couldn't get TWO full games with the Gold Coast over the last two seasons, walks into a four year deal with Hadjuk, has played a number of crucial games in the centre mid position already. 35,000 v Dinamo Zagreb - Lustica marshalling the midfield. So why didn't he get a go in Australia?

Were Robson or Bas Van Den Brink, so much better than a developing Young Aussie?
How does a Young Aussie develop? Go overseas?

Have to wonder if the Young Aussies will be given a go in Australia this season or will we continue to import Euro/South American trash instead.

Euro trash might be a harsh term - but how is it Dutch players can pour into our leagues, Brazilians as well. Are these guys soooo desperate to play in Australia they forego contracts in Europe. GIVE ME A BREAK.

And they are taking our young guns places. And as the recent Socceroos team shows players who play in the A-League are good enough - they just need to play.

Think Matt Mackay, Alex Brosque, David Carney, Sasa Ognenoski, Mile Jedinak, Robbie Kruse, Michael Zullo - all Socceroos who played many many games in the A-League.

Terry Antonis got a start last week, Bernie Ibini not much, Kofi Danning got a gig on the opening day at Brisbane - not seen at Sydney last year. Musti is injured and Demi Petratos not sighted.

And these are the "stars." Where are the other young guns, or can the league only use a couple of Young Socceroos each year at best. Who will give them a go?

No-one it seems - not if we can keep bringing in older, washed up European players (Dutch) with masses of experience. But is the league so much better for not having young Aussies on the park?


Socceroos need a midfielder - Holger's eyes light up

Love Mile Jedinak and all he's achieved but to take the Socceroos to the next level we need a better, more skilled midfielder.

Neil Kilkenny is not it.

Carl Valeri has done a fantastic job for Australia over the last couple of years, like Vinny Grella and Jason Culina at their peak in 2006, his contribution has perhaps gone undervalued.

But who can step up and push Jedinak aside?

Eric Partaluu is surely one in the mix. Although many poo poo the A-League, not me, Matt Mckay stormed the international scene, so why not Eric who has played outstandingly in a key role in Australia's best ever team.

We wait for Terry Antonis, or Steven Lustica currently starting for Hadjuk Split but surely under increasing pressure from Croatia.

But Holger, of course, has the answer. Did you see his eyes light up when he talked about Adam Sarota - the less than significant Brisbane Roar player. He got around 9 games before heading to Holland.

He could be the one, but note James Holland is also set to start his first game in the EreDivisie.

A lot of quality coming....perhaps in two years.


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Socceroos waltz on - fewer English based players in the team - is that why we're better?

Do you remember when we used to make hard work of Oman?

With Harry Kewell, Brett Emerton, Tim Cahill, Vinny Grella all English based in the line-up.

Three times we played them in the last four years - three times we struggled - really struggled.

This time with a bunch of so-called lesser names, younger boys, we waltz it. Pass, control, pass and move and the Omanis didn't get a shot - or maybe one which tested Adam Federici in goals.

We were brilliant. In terms of international football we truly were. Yes we were slow at times, but we had the ball and proceeded to work the Omanis into the ground and ease to a 3-0 win.

Brett Holman, isn't he brilliant, Matt McKay, Josh Kennedy and Luke Wilkshire - not quite as eminent as the boys above who played in the EPL but really this groups results against Oman is even more impressive.

Is it the young guns factor? Is it the fact that our new boys are mostly playing outside of England, therefore bringing more tactical and technical nous to their game and the team.

Interestingly Rhys Williams one of our up and coming English players lacks a lack of technique at time, particularly at full back going forward.

The more players not playing in England the better prepared for international football they are. Now there's a thought!


Nearpost poddie: A-League is back and we love it.

Aaron Walker, Eamonn Flanagan, and Nick Amies talk Aussie football

We've got Aussie football covered. All the news. Socceroos and A-League and all the footy news and talk. How many football poddies only cover Aussie football?

We are clearly Australia's number one football poddie, apart from all the others, We discuss all the news from Australian football. What more could you wish for from the Australian media?

or play right from your computer....


Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Nearpost Podcast October 4: Socceroos, A-League, Paddy's boxing and more

Paddy Bordier, Nick Cumpston and Nick Amies talk Aussie football once again this week, in particular the A-league (just four days away!!!) the Socceroos' chances against Malaysia and Oman, the Matildas and Paddy's boxing career; it's all here on the Nearpost.

Nick jr. has been charged with uploading the podcast this week, so feel free to attribute any and all technical difficulties to him in your hate mail.

or play right from your computer....


Saturday, 1 October 2011

We are football - nice ad, welcome Season 7